Newsletter May 2020

Welcome to the May 2020 issue of the Out of School Alliance newsletter.

Survey on the impact of coronavirus on out of school clubs

We know that many out of school club providers are struggling at the moment due to the school shutdown. We wanted to find out exactly what proportion of clubs are affected, and what are the key issues, so we've put together a short survey to gather data on our sector. Please feel free to share the survey with other club providers who may not receive this newsletter. The survey closes on Wednesday 20 May.
Take the online survey

Blog: Treat yourself

With so many reasons to be worried at the moment, it's no wonder that many small business owners are suffering from symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. For your own well-being it is vital that you take a bit of time out for yourself, and focus on something outside of your immediate concerns. Just for a little while, try to stop thinking about everyone else, and dedicate some time to making yourself feel better. In our latest blog we've collected together some suggestions for how to treat yourself - whilst not leaving home or spending money. Relax and enjoy!
Read our Treat yourself blog post

Mini Membership scheme for parents

After weeks of lockdown, many parents are starting to feel the strain of keeping their children entertained whilst stuck at home, and are in need of some cheap and easy activity ideas for their children. Our huge library of activity factsheets is usually restricted to members of the Out of School Alliance, but we've now created a scheme where individuals can access all the activities for a six month period. This new Mini Membership scheme will usually cost £10 but until the end of May people can join for just £5.00 by using the discount code MINI5. Feel free to share the discount code with friends, parents at your club, or anyone else who you think might be interested.
(You could also buy additional Mini Memberships for members of your club staff if you wanted them to be able to access the activities separately from your main membership account.)
Find out more about the Mini Membership scheme

New upgrade to OOSA Club Database released

CM Software logoCM Software, the developers of the OOSA Club Database package, have radically revised their product, upgrading their existing product variants and introducing several more. There are now eight different variants ranging in price from £327 to £547, depending on what type of invoicing options you need, and the size of your club. Data input has been greatly improved as has the ease of use. With a one-off purchase price and no ongoing licensing or subscription fees, the OOSA Club Database offers a cost-effective solution to managing your club bookings and invoicing.
Find out more about the OOSA Club Database

Coronavirus updates

Just a reminder that the Coronavirus Update page on our website is continuously updated throughout the month, and contains the latest news for out of school clubs as well as relevant guidance from the DfE, Ofsted, HMRC, and PHE.
Check out our Coronavirus Update page

Inquiry into the effect of Covid-19 on education and children's services

Don't forget that the Education Select Committee is running an inquiry on the effect of Covid-19 on education and children's services, and how the DfE is dealing with the situation. Its main focus is educational settings, but its remit also includes the early years sector and the childcare market, including the financial implications of closures for providers. The inquiry is accepting written evidence until 31 May 2020.
Find out more about the select committee inquiry

Temporary changes to EYFS requirements

The DfE has published guidance on a number of temporary relaxations (or 'disapplications') to certain parts of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The aim of these disapplications is to enable providers to be 'more flexible'. Most of these changes relate to the learning and development requirements, so don't apply to wraparound settings anyway. However there are a couple of changes that could affect out of school clubs:

  • Settings must use their 'best endeavours' to ensure that there is at least one member of staff with a full Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate present on site at all times, but if this is not possible, it is now acceptable to have for a member of staff who has just a First Aid at Work or Emergency PFA certificate - so long as all the children are over the age of two and a thorough written risk assessment is conducted first. Providers must be able to demonstrate they have identified and taken all possible steps to appoint someone with the full PFA certificate before accepting the lesser certificate.
  • For out of school clubs, the requirement to have qualified staff only applies if you have any pre-school children who attend your setting. These qualification requirements have now been relaxed slightly. You still need to have someone present at each session who has a recognised Level 3 qualification, but it is no longer a legal requirement for half of the remaining staff (who care for the pre-school children) to have a recognised Level 2 qualification. It is also no longer a requirement for staff to have a full PFA or emergency PFA certificate in order to be counted as qualified staff.

These temporary changes came into force on 24 April 2020 and will last throughout the COVID-19 outbreak or until the government stipulates otherwise.
Read the early years foundation stage disapplications in full
See our Coronavirus update for other Ofsted changes affecting out of school clubs

To keep up to date with all changes related to Coronavirus/Covid-19 from Ofsted:
See Ofsted: coronavirus (Covid-19) rolling update

Two things to do for your business right now

1. Create induction packs for new starters
Whilst it may seem hard to imagine life returning to some semblance of normality, you do need to make plans for when this eventually happens. In particular, you should try to get in touch with prospective parents, who will be considering their childcare options for when their children start school in September.

Contact your local primary school(s) and ask them to include your promotional literature in any school induction packs that are being sent out to parents of new starters. It may be that the school is only sending out emails, in which case you can ask for your registration documents to be included as attachments. In addition, make sure that you update your website and Facebook page, to include your induction pack, so that parents can download the information from home.

2. Keep up communication with parents
It may seem a bit pointless at the moment, but continuing to communicate with the parents and children who usually attend your club is an important way to support your business. Obviously it's not so easy to do this at the moment, as there’s not a great deal that can be included in a newsletter. Use the time to develop your social media presence: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are ideal visual platforms for sharing ideas that will make you relevant to their lives. You could try regularly videoing craft activities or games that are suitable for children to do at home – the sort of activities where families are likely to have the resources readily to hand. Ask parents to share photos of their children undertaking the activities and tag you. You can also share helpful links (such as the guide to Netflix parental controls later in this newsletter) or relevant money saving deals (such as our £5 discount on our new Mini Membership scheme) whether via a newsletter or via social media. All of these things help remind parents about your business and the service that you offer.

Social distancing for OSCs

There is considerable speculation about the possibility of schools and childcare settings re-opening for the last half-term of this academic year, even if only for certain year groups. Whether this will actually happen remains to be seen, but you should get your plans in place now for how you will maintain social distancing, so that you have thought through all the issues before you commit to re-opening. In our new article we highlight some of the common issues and suggest measures that you can take.
Read our new article on Social distancing

Financial assistance for OSCs - update

Last month we summarised the forms of government financial support most likely to be relevant to out of school clubs. Since then there have been a number of updates and developments:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allows you to reclaim 80% of wage costs for employees that you put 'on furlough', opened for claims on 20 April and employers have been reporting that the money came through to their bank accounts very quickly.
  • The online claim system for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is due to go live on 13 May. However you can use their online tool now to verify whether you will be eligible to make a claim based on your previous tax returns. The tool also notifies you of the date (and time) from which you will be able to submit your claim. (It looks like HMRC is aiming to spread out the number of people making claims at any one time to avoid the system crashing!)
    Check if you can claim a grant through the SEISS
  • Many businesses were complaining that trying to get a loan through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was both very time consuming and likely to result in rejection. So on 27 April the Chancellor announced a new, simpler, Bounce Back Loan scheme for small businesses needing to borrow relatively small sums of money (£2,000 to £50,000). Applications will be fast-tracked so that businesses should receive the money 'within days'. The loans will be for periods up to six years and will be interest free for the first 12 months.
    Find out how to apply for the Bounce Back Loan
  • On 2 May the government announced a top-up fund for local authorities, to enable them to give grants to small businesses with ongoing property-related costs and which operate from 'shared spaces' which therefore weren't eligible for the various 'business rates rebate' schemes announced at the start of the crisis, because they didn't pay separate business rates. More details about this scheme have yet to be announced, but it will be administered through your local authority and they will have discretion about who they allocate the grants to. If you operate from a 'shared space' such as community building, or possibly a school, and you are still liable for rent, you should contact your local authority in the first instance to find out whether you might be eligible for this grant.
    Find out more about the top-up fund for local authorities

With the information and guidance on the various support schemes changing all the time, do check the Financial Assistance section of our Coronavirus Update page for the latest updates:
See our round up of government assistance

Guidance on Netflix parental controls

With so many of us glued to the TV at the moment, gorging on old films and box sets, it is important to make sure that children are only viewing appropriate content when their parents aren't around. Netflix has recently updated its parental controls and Childnet has published guidance on how to make best use them. This could be a helpful link to share with parents in your next communication with them.
Visit the ChildNet website to find out more

Training during shutdown

Last month we covered why this shutdown period is an ideal opportunity to get in some training for yourself and your staff. Furloughed staff aren't allowed to do revenue-earning work for you whilst on furlough, but they are allowed to undertake training. We've rounded up some more free or cheap training opportunities for you (see below), but if you missed last month's newsletter, don't forget to also take a look at our existing information on training:
Free or cheap continuing professional development courses
List of training providers
Essential training

Free online conference: Transforming Challenging Behaviour

If you're looking for some practical and reliable strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour, take a look at the Transforming Challenging Behaviour conference. This online conference is free, and runs from 6 to 12 May. There is a new series of speakers every day and their presentations are available to view for 24 hours. Although the conference is American, there are some speakers from the UK, and many of the issues and techniques discussed with be just as applicable over here.
Register for the Transforming Challenging Behaviour online conference

Free online training: 2020 Early Years Summit

Just a reminder about the 2020 Early Years Summit, which runs from 1 to 7 June. This year's theme is 'Speech, Language and Communication'. The summit consists of three video interviews per day by experts in their field. These are free to watch during the week of the summit, and if you pay a small fee you can watch them whenever you like afterwards. This year's topics include: selective mutism, bilingualism and typical speech and language development. The summit is an excellent opportunity to source some free CPD for yourself and your team.
Find out more about the 2020 Early Years Summit

Surviving to Thriving sessions with The Childcare Collective

The Childcare Collective is a new Facebook group which has been set up to support childcare workers and to come up with positive solutions. It's running a programme of online training sessions called Surviving to Thriving which is all about the future. We can’t change what is happening right now, but we can be in the very best place to move forwards and hit the ground running, full of confidence. 

The next set of sessions include a practice related session introducing you to PARS Playwork led by the creator of the model, Dr Shelly Newstead. The schedule for May is:

  • 7 May, 8.00pm: The Impact on Children of Domestic Abuse with Rebekah Jackson
  • 15 May, 10.30am: An Introduction to PARS Playwork with Dr Shelly Newstead
  • 18 May, 7.30pm: Support That Works Brings Success For All with Jacqui and Kiera Byland
  • 26 May, 7.30pm: Inclusion De-Mystified with Philip Douch
  • 28 May, 10.30am: Building Bouncebackability Zoom mastermind session facilitated by Rebekah Jackson

For more information about the topics and speakers, and to find out how to join the online sessions, see the Childcare Collective page on Facebook.
Visit The Childcare Collective's Facebook page

Free Way to Play e-book

Northern Ireland's play body, PlayBoard NI, is making its book Way to Play available as a free download until 31 May. The book was developed to inspire parents and practitioners to provide play opportunities for the children in their care. It includes lists of ideas for things to make and do as well as suggestions for how to support and facilitate play in your setting.
Download the Way to Play e-book

Activity idea: Paper plane target

This is really three activities in one. Firstly there's making the target, then there's making the paper planes, and then finally flying the planes at the target to see which ones are most accurate. This kept our chosen guinea pig happily entertained for well over an hour.
Download the Paper Plane Target factsheet

Activity idea: Flying ping pong monster

This is our lockdown gift to all parents and childcare workers. If you are hoping for five minutes with no one calling your name, this is the activity you need. No child is able to blow the ping pong ball and talk to you at the same time. You’re welcome!
Download the Flying Ping Pong Monster factsheet

Penny spinning tops

This is a super simple activity that any child can do, and needs minimal adult involvement and minimal resources. Coming up with ideas for the different decorative designs that will work best when spun, and developing the best spinning techniques to keep the spinning tops going the longest, should keep the children busy and engaged.
Download the Penny Spinning Tops factsheet

Latest vacancies from OOSA Jobs
Job titleLocationClosing date
Playscheme ManagerFrampton Cotterell, Bristol10/05/2020
Play and Youth WorkersChertsey, Surrey29/06/2020

Find out how to advertise your vacancy on OOSA Jobs

Diary of events for the out of school club sector
6-12 May 2020
Transforming Challenging Behaviour
17 May 2020
National Children's Day UK 2020
1-7 June 2020
2020 Early Years Summmit: Speech, language and communication
2 September 2020
Hilton Glasgow
Celebrating Out of School Care in Scotland
25-26 September 2020
Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Childcare & Education Expo Midlands
6-7 November 2020
EventCity, Manchester
Childcare & Education Expo Manchester
20-21 November 2020
Olympia, London
Childcare & Education Expo London

If you know of other events that should be included in this list, please drop us an email with the details.